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Author Archives: Fra Noi

Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

OSIA celebrates 91st annual Columbus Banquet

  The Grand Lodge of Illinois/Wisconsin, Order Sons of Italy in America, celebrated its 91st annual Columbus Banquet on Oct. 10 at the White Eagle in Niles. Richard R. Della Croce, Columbus Banquet Chair and Master of Ceremonies for the evening, welcomed the guests and introduced the Grand Lodge Officers, honored award recipients and the Columbus Queen representative as they entered the hall. Highlighting the evening were the presentations of the 2015 Humanitarian Award and the Columbus Patriot Award. In addition, the Illinois Sons of Italy Foundation awarded nine scholarships to Italian American students who are continuing their education. Receiving ...

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Air Force vet offers rare insight into combat zone

On Monday, Nov. 9, U.S. Air Force veteran William “Billy” Castellano gave a riveting power point presentation of his time in the Middle East to a capacity crowd at the Italian American Veterans Museum. Billy told his story of how a boy from Galewood knew he wanted to follow in his family’s tradition of service to the United States military, joining the Air Force as a young man. As a member of the U.S. Air Force Security Forces, he was tasked with safeguarding nuclear weapons, codes and components. Deployed to the Middle East multiple times, he spent a year in ...

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Columbian Club installs Zivojnovic as president

Elmwood Park real estate broker Jonathan Zivojnovic stepped up to the presidency of the Columbian Club of Chicago at the organization’s annual installation gala on Jan. 16 at the Loew’s Hotel O’Hare. (708-456-9200) “I have served as president and chairperson for many other groups, and I must say that this is a role I have been looking forward to for many years,” Zivojnovic says. A member since 2008, Zivojnovic joined for the networking opportunity and quickly discovered that the club represented so much more. “The brotherhood and camaraderie among the members is like nothing else, and they do wonderful charity work,” ...

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NIAF accepts application for student trips

For the 17th consecutive year, the National Italian American Foundation will sponsor its Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery program, an educational and cultural initiative that sends Italian American students enrolled in a college or university to Italy each year. This all-expenses-paid trip will take place in June 2016. The goal of the Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery program is to strengthen Italian American students’ understanding of their heritage and the contributions Italy has made to the world. “The Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery, a cornerstone program at the National Italian American Foundation, helps strengthen the Italian ...

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JCCIA launches another great parade down State Street

Anticipating the aura of Columbus Day became reality on Monday, Oct. 12. It was everything I had envisioned, only more spectacular. The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii was filled to capacity, the altar gorgeous with bouquets of flowers, the music resounding throughout the Mass. Father Fragomeni’s words were stimulating. JCCIA President Frank Cerrone greeted all. Parade Chairman Sal Perricone gave emotional closing comments. The Marist Band brought tears to our eyes, and the Knights of Columbus were impressive as always. At Arrigo Park, the words of Marie Marsalli of the State Grand Lodge of the Order Sons of Italy ...

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Labriola reimagines Sunday brunch

When “Chief Doughboy” Rich Labriola decided to launch a Sunday brunch at his North Michigan Avenue foodie mecca, he was determined to make it a cut above the ordinary. Actually, make that several cuts above. The new menu at La Stanza Ristorante, the fine dining room in the back of Labriola Chicago, features lobster thermidor benedict, baby kale and octopus hash with a sunny-side up egg, prosecco in place of champagne, and a do-it-yourself donut bar. (312.955.3100, lastanzachicago.com)  

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Jessica Malpede reigns as queen on Columbus Day

  Jessica Malpede was crowned Queen of the Columbus Day parade at a glittering pageant on Sept. 20 at Alta Villa Banquets in Addison. “‘Exciting’ doesn’t begin to describe the 2015 Columbus Day Queen Pageant,” JCCIA Executive Director Jo Ann Serpico says. “Enthusiasm radiated from the family members, friends and community leaders who attended, and the young women were perfect examples of confidence, courage and leadership.” Ron Onesti of Onesti Entertainment chaired the event and served as master of ceremonies, and Marilyn Fredericks handled the choreography. “Ron and Marilyn did a spectacular job of running this year’s pageant,” Serpico says. ...

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Combonis to honor Tony Turano

The Comboni Missionaries will honor Umberto “Tony” Turano as Man of the Year on Nov. 21 at Porretta’s Banquets in Chicago. (708-354-1999) “Tony Turano is a supremely successful businessman who has never forgotten his roots,” says the Rev. Peter Premarini, MCCJ, superior of the Comboni Mission Center in LaGrange Park. “We have chosen to honor him in appreciation of all the generous contributions that he and his family have made to the community as well as their support of the work of the Comboni Missionaries.” Tony and his brothers, Renato and Giancarlo, were born to Mariano and Assunta Turano in ...

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UNICO announces its 2015 scholarships

The Scholarship Committee of UNICO National recently announced its 2015 awards. Among the nearly two-dozen grants bestowed were a dozen nursing scholarships, a pair of literary awards and a pair of awards to help fund studying abroad. “While we assist talented students to realize their aspirations, we encourage our recipients to become exceptional, contributing members of society,” committee Chair Joan Tidona explains. “As our program continues to expand, it is clear that UNICO National recognizes education as an essential investment in the future.” The Scholarship Committee presented the following scholarships in 2015: Major Don S. Gentile Memorial Scholarship — Matthew ...

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IAPA honors union organizer Joe Martucci

Joseph Martucci Jr. was honored as Man of the Year by the Italian American Police Association on Nov. 7 at Alta Villa Banquets in Addison. Frank DiMaria, second vice president of the FOP Lodge 7, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the event. (708-268-1495) “As a lifelong union organizer, Joe has had a significant positive impact on the quality of life of countless law enforcement officers and other union members throughout the Midwest,” says IAPA President Phil Tenerelli. Joe was born in Chicago and grew up in the Austin District on the city’s Far West Side. The son of Joseph ...

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